Howard, Ohio – OakBridge Timber Framing Ltd., based here, precuts and installs timber frame homes. Established in 1986 by Johnny Miller and Levi Hochstetler, the company is comprised of three generations of an Amish family.
Throughout history Amish and Mennonite people have been recognized for their hard work, attention to detail and true commitment to the craft of constructing barns and other buildings. Miller and Hochstetler began OakBridge Timber Framing from their experience raising barns in their youth. "Timber framing has always been part of our culture," owner and CEO Johnny Miller said. "My father built mortise and tenon structures with his father."
OakBridge Timber Framingʼs custom timber frame homes are constructed from Douglas Fir and white oak, of which the company purchases approximately 100,000 board feet annually. Much like their Amish ancestors, the skilled craftsmen at OakBridge take pride in their work as they craft each timber with hand tools. Utilizing a traditional draw bore technique with 1-inch pegs, the joiners achieve exact cuts and precision in the joinery of timbers. "We use a draw bore technique, which makes for much tighter joints," Miller explained. "We plane and finish our frames using a lot of techniques to keep our joints as tight as possible."
Johnny Miller and his team of eight employees build an average of 15 homes or structures per year. "Our projects are beautiful homes, banks and museums," he said. He added that he appreciates the size of his company as it is today, to ensure exceptional quality craftsmanship. "I have been to many old fashioned barn raisings where the frame is raised, enclosed and even the stalls are built in one day by a crowd of several hundred people. But those framers used rough sawn and unfinished timbers and the joints didnʼt fit very tight. Our plan is to grow in size slowly, but focus primarily on growing in quality and service."
A family owned and operated company, key employees include Johnny Millerʼs brother and co-owner, Aaron Miller, who is also the production manager. Neal Miller, also a brother, works in production. Their father, Andrew Miller, oversees quality control and production. Johnnyʼs sons James and Andrew Miller are also in production.
His daughter Leah Miller is secretary and the office manager is Joni Miller. The Millers prefer to use Douglas Fir Softwood lumber and red and white oak hardwood lumber. "Douglas Fir is a strong wood; itʼs softer and lighter," Miller commented.
With timber frame homes now in 22 states, Johnny Miller is still in contact with many of his previous customers. "Our mission is—To build dream homes that reflect our values," he said, referring to the companyʼs mission statement, which is complimented by the company motto, "Where quality is first, quality lasts."
OakBridgeʼs satisfied customers have remarkable comments about their homes. "Thank you for the quality of product and spirit of cooperation that we enjoyed while working with you. The finished product is truly magnificent, as attested to by the many superlatives we receive from friends and neighbors," R.T. Thompson, on Catawba Island in Port Clinton, Ohio, said. Another customer, Mike and Denise Bellcock of Watertown, Wis., said, "We are so excited, this is a dream come true!" Laura Eloe, who had a custom OakBridge timber frame home built in Chicago, Ill., said, "Thanks so much for our awesome frame. It is causing quite a stir around here. We have already had many comments on how beautiful and well constructed the frame is. You all do outstanding work. We would be happy to reference for you on your future projects."
Committed to the environment, OakBridge Timber frame homes are constructed from the highest quality timbers. The entire building process is energy efficient and non-toxic to the environment. And in keeping with their Amish culture, the OakBridge facility is run by manpower, pneumatic and hydraulic power.
OakBridge Timber Framing Ltd. is a member of the Timber Framers Guild, Timber Frame Business Council, the Building Industry Association of North Central Ohio, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
All of OakBridgeʼs homes are custom designed for each customer, either from an original design, or from one of 12 different floor plans from which an OakBridge customer can create their own dream home. Those plans include: the Bookwalter, Elo, Frederick, Freeman, Jenkins, Johnson, Joyce, Lemon, Lentz, Pistone, Price and the Thomspon. To view these floor plans and more information visit www.oakbridgetimberframing.com.
The OakBridge website is sponsored and maintained by Friends of OakBridge Timber Framing Ltd., out of appreciation and deep respect for their integrity, craftsman and values.
Come watch us raise a frame.